An Intro toActive Isolated Stretching from San Soma Incline Village Massage
Massage therapy incorporates a variety of different methods to achieve the best result for your body. These methods often include repetitive movements, strengthening, pressure movements and more to alleviate pain, increase circulation and improve flexibility and range of motion. Another method, which is sometimes overlooked in relation to massage therapy is stretching. For this post I’ll be discussing a highly specialized type of stretching called Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) and its uses and benefits.
Active Isolated Stretching is a form of athletic stretching therapy that differs significantly from traditional stretching techniques. As opposed to traditional stretching, Active Isolated Stretching is characterized by the following:
· Specificity (precisely targeting specific muscles)
· Incremental assists (helping to push just past the point you could do a certain stretch on your own)
· Gentle motion
· Active initiation (having you activate the stretch and the muscles involved)
· Brief duration (holding the stretch for very brief periods)
· Multiple repetitions
· Deep breathing (to increase oxygen flow to your muscles)
Interestingly, AIS incorporates brief, 2-second stretching versus traditional stretching techniques that go much longer and can cause muscle fatigue. Performing an Active Isolated Stretch targets muscles to optimally lengthen without triggering the protective stretch reflex. Therefore, these stretches provide maximum benefit and can be accomplished without opposing muscle tension or resulting trauma. In addition to providing benefit to the targeted muscles, AIS also does wonders to help keep (or develop) healthy joints. By repeating gentle-tension movements on all of the fibers in a joint structure, those fibers are in effect exercised and made stronger.
By reading through this introduction to Active Isolated Stretching, it may come as a surprise that not all stretching is actually good for you. Because of the way our bodies operate there are stretching techniques that are and are not good for our ligaments and muscles. Injuries to fibrous connective tissues (ligaments, joints, tendons, and fascia) account for the majority of chronic pain, rather than body imbalance or muscular tension. Therefore, how we stretch has a dramatic influence on preventing injuries that could lead to chronic pain.
At San Soma, when appropriate, I incorporate AIS techniques before or after performing massage therapy, especially for those who are focusing on recovering from a sports injury or general rehabilitation. Taking advantage of Active Isolated Stretching is a worthwhile investment in your body. For more information on these stretches and how including them in your Incline Village massage therapy options can create a more holistic, worthwhile massage, please reach out to contact San Soma today.